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Earthwatch at 50: John Pratt's story

In 2016, keen angler John Pratt joined Wild Oxfordshire and the Evenlode Catchment Partnership to take part in Earthwatch Europe’s FreshWater Watch initiative to monitor nitrate and phosphate levels under the twice-yearly Thames WaterBlitz.

John gathered samples from a number of sites in the area but noticed that the once crystal clear water was now distinctly murky. He wanted to increase the frequency of sampling to explore how the water quality changed across the seasons. He has now been sampling five sites every two months since 2017, collecting data on water quality as part of FreshWater Watch and on invertebrates through the Riverfly Partnership.

His results show that while the health of the main River Evenlode was questionable, streams flowing through farmland and untouched by sewage treatment outfalls remained in a good ecological state, providing valuable information about the potential for the river to achieve good status in areas that are less impacted by nutrient pollution.

He hopes that the information will raise the profile of the River Evenlode and mean that it’s given more attention by policy-makers resulting in actions that enable it to be brought up to good ecological status.

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